Art in the (State) Park

Well, maybe not art in the sense of a mural, statue, or even graffiti. But there is so much stray stuff–stones, branches, bits of garbage–scattered around the trails and lakeshore, and sometimes people mess about with it, then leave it for other people to find.



X marks the spot–such a simple thing. For all I know, this might’ve even been an accident. But whenever I see crossed sticks of any type, I think of the short story by Karl Edward Wagner. You know, “Sticks,” the one that brings to mind aspects of The Blair Witch Project.






A plastic bottle, a cap, and some weathered branches, and it’s Clint Driftwood.



(“The Ecstasy of Gold” from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly plays in the background)







One day you have an altar…







..and the next day, the altar is no more. Only a smiling face atop a tiny gateway.

Tiny critters that walk beneath are never seen again.








Then there are those times when Mother Nature gets into the act and puts human efforts to shame. The most striking examples are usually driftwood: sticks, branches, or occasionally large sections of trunk. I don’t know what caused the curlicue designs on this log–possibly a disease or infestation of some sort? They remind me of ancient writing or drawings.


This log’s gnarled surface reminded me of a roiling sky painted by van Gogh.






All this, in just the last few weeks.

I love my morning walks. I never know what I’ll find.

Posted in Art, Nature Tagged permalink

About Kristine Smith

Kristine Smith is the author of the Jani Kilian series and a number of SF and fantasy short stories, and is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She worked as a pharmaceutical process development scientist for 26 years, but now writes full-time. She also writes supernatural thrillers under the name Alex Gordon. Check out her BVC bookshelf


Art in the (State) Park — 6 Comments

  1. No pictures, but at Wildwood Park here on Mt. Hood, we are finding rocks of all size, tiny to double fist, that have been painted with faces and whimsical designs. I think it was a camp project. The kids get to do arts and crafts and then they get walk outdoors to leave their precious doodles for someone who needs a smile.

  2. The curlicues are probably beetle grubs of some sort. I love the variety and the changes too.

  3. I love the driftwood! And the painted rocks might be part of a project on Facebook: Max and Bella’s Roaming Rocks. People paint rocks, maybe put their name and city on the back, and leave them in public places, trails, etc. for others to find, photograph, and relocate. They travel!